MANILA, Philippines – Two British-born Filipinos have signed contracts with a United Football League (UFL) side for the ongoing UFL Cup.
|Jason Arroyo. File photo.
Aaron De Rama, 19, and Jason Arroyo, 22, put pen to paper for the Nomads FC following a successful trial with the club early last month.
Their contracts are just for the UFCL Cup, which has been given the tentative end date of November 17.
The duo have been training in the Philippines for around six months, with the aim of getting picked by UFL sides. Now that it has come true, they are eager to grab the opportunity with both hands.
De Rama, who has featured for the Philippine Under-22 national team, said: "Signing with Nomads is a great opportunity for me to establish myself here in the Philippines as a player."
"I see it as a chance to really show my potential in the UFL and hopefully, catch the attention of the senior national team coach," he added.
For his part, Arroyo, a 2009 winner of a Nike Football speed competition in the United Kingdom, said: "It means a lot to play in the UFL Cup because I have a chance to show what I can do against the best clubs here."
"Nomads is a club with great history, decent facilities and a good atmosphere. I heard the majority of the team were English so I thought I could adapt quicker," Arroyo added.
Michael Denison, head coach of the Nomads, recently expressed his excitement about their new acquisitions during a TV show.
"There are a couple of good British-Filipino guys – Jason Arroyo and Aaron de Rama. Looking forward to seeing them play. They look quite promising," he said.
The two attackers are former players of the UK's first amateur Filipino team – the Philippine Football Club (PFC), which currently competes in Division One of the West Hertfordshire League, north of London.
Endorsed by former Philippine Football Federation president Mari Martinez, the PFC was created with the purpose of giving British-Filipinos a venue to play and to spot talent that could be considered for local teams, or even the national team.
Jesse Arroyo is PFC's club secretary and the older brother of Jason. He is proud of the two players' progress and said their inclusion in Nomads has given a boost to their former teammates.
"I feel it's a good step forward as we now have players associated with UFL sides," he said. "It is a potential aim for some of our current players."
"They are paving the way. They are building connections and it's definitely an inspiration for the rest of the boys."
The British-Filipinos admit it would be a dream come true if they are offered contracts for the upcoming UFL league season. However, they know it will depend on their performances in the weeks to come.
Nomads FC are pooled in Group C of the UFL Cup, which began last October 2. They won their latest fixture, 1-0, against Laos last October 7 at The Fields in Nuvali. Both Arroyo and De Rama were part of the starting eleven.